Saturday, September 1, 2012

1) Pacific leaders ignore Papuan rights abuses, call for observer status

1) Pacific leaders ignore Papuan rights abuses, call for observer status

2) Australian Report Sparks Debate of Densus 88’s Role in Papua


Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Henry Yamo on Rarotonga
While calls from civil society organisations continued this week for Pacific leaders to grant observer status to West Papua amid fresh reports of human rights violations in the Indonesian-ruled Melanesian region, there was little interest in Forum circles.
Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister Hamilson Lini told Pacific Scoop that while he supported the call by West Papua to be given observer status, it needed to be a decision by all leaders.
“I support the call by West Papua but I cannot make that decision – it has to be made by all the leaders of the Forum,” he said.
“It’s something Vanuatu alone cannot decide on.”
A two-part investigation by theABC TV 7.30 Report this week carried out by two journalists under cover exposed growing violence against Papuans by military and militia and also made allegations about Australian training of a special force accused over human rights violations.
While Pacific leaders discussed broader security issues on transnational and boarder security as stated in the communiqué, the human rights violations across West Papua and the call for observer status has again fallen on deaf ears.
Lini said the call by the West Papuans for recognition was an issue that was “real and affecting the Melanesian people” of West Papua but it had to be discussed at the leaders level and agreed to by Forum leaders.
Strategic guide
The Forum communiqué said the Forum Leaders had welcomed the development of a “human security framework” for the Pacific which would be developed as a strategic guide for the Forum Secretariat and other stakeholders to improve understanding, planning and implementation of human security approaches.
The leaders mapped out ways to embrace emerging security situations although they left out West Papua for consideration.
According to the communiqué, leaders also noted the development of the regional action plan on women, peace and security developed by the Pacific Regional Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.
The Pacific leaders are also keen to see Fiji return to parliamentary democracy in accordance with the Biketawa Declaration.
However, these stand-alone and broader peace, security and development initiatives in the Pacific do not seem to capture the West Papua.
Henry Yamo is a postgraduate student and journalist at AUT University reporting for the Pacific Media Centre.

2) Australian Report Sparks Debate of Densus 88’s Role in Papua

Ismira Lutfia & Ezra Sihite | September 01, 2012

Following an investigative report from Australian media alleging that the country’s counterterrorism unit Special Detachment 88 killed a Papuan pro-independence activist, an analyst urged Indonesia to further probe the incident. 

Adriana Elisabeth, a researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said on Friday that police must embark on a comprehensive and accountable investigation into recent cases of violence in Papua to maintain their credibility. 

“They should not be silent on the media report. As the country’s highest security authority, the police should be able to solve the series of violence in Papua, and come out with accountable results so that outsiders don’t need to do their own investigation, which could be biased also,” she said. 

The counterterrorism squad, known as Densus 88, has been involved in a number of crackdowns against separatists in Papua and Maluku, with officers saying their participation was justified because the nation’s Law on Terrorism categorizes armed insurgence as an act of terrorism. 

In August last year, counterterrorism officers were deployed in conflict-riven Papua after four people were killed in an ambush by suspected armed separatists in Nafri village, on the outskirts of Jayapura. 

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday ran a story on Papuans testifying that Densus 88, which is trained and supplied by the Australian government, was involved in the June killing of Mako Tabuni, then-chairman of the pro-independence West Papua National Committee (KNPB). 

The report has sparked debate in Australia, with the Greens, a party that is part of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s coalition government, saying Australia should look at ending anti-terrorism training for Indonesian troops if they are found to be involved in human rights abuses in West Papua. 

Greens Senator Richard Di Natale told The Australian newspaper that he has been concerned for some time about a lack of accountability in Australia’s funding and training of Indonesian forces. 

And in an interview with ABC following the report’s airing, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said an inquiry was needed into Tabuni’s killing and the allegations surrounding Densus 88. 

“We think the best way of clarifying the situation is for an inquiry, and we’ve never hesitated to raise human rights issues in the two Papuan provinces, and we’ll continue to do it,” Carr said during the interview. 

“I’ve raised it myself with the Indonesian foreign minister, my counterpart, Marty Natalegawa, and Prime Minister Gillard has raised it with the president of Indonesia [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] as recently as June this year.” 

Mahfudz Siddiq, head of the Indonesian House of Representatives’ Commission I, overseeing defense, security and international affairs, slammed Carr for having “double standards” in calling for the inquiry. 

Mahfudz confirmed that Densus 88 was present in Papua, arguing that Tabuni’s alleged acts of violence warranted “the presence of Detachment 88.” 

Mahfudz also chided Carr, saying Australian politicians never complained about Densus 88 killings of suspected Muslim terrorists. 

“In my opinion, it is too far for Bob Carr to mention human rights training to Detachment 88. Did Australia give any comment when Islamic activists got killed or injured by Detachment 88 while the anti-terror squad was raiding a house?” Mahfudz said. 

Tabuni was accused of orchestrating a number of shootings in Jayapura, Papua, including one against a German tourist. 

But ABC reporters disguised as tourists interviewed a number of Papuan activists and witnesses who were quoted as saying that Tabuni was framed and killed for his pro-independence stance. 

Oktovianus Pekei, a Papuan priest in the district of Paniai, said suspected counterterrorism officers also raided people’s homes in the district capital, Enarotali, during a standoff with members of the armed rebel movement, the Free Papua Organization (OPM) in November. 

The National Police have refused to confirm whether Densus 88 officers were responsible for Tabuni’s death. 

Carr defended Australia’s provision of counterterrorism training to Indonesian forces, with a caveat. 

“It is absolutely in Australia’s interests that we have this relationship, but we don’t train them in counterinsurgency — it’s counterterrorism,” he said. 

“Part of that training is in human rights; just as we train our own armed forces and our own police to respect human rights, we’ve introduced that into the counterterrorism training we deliver for the Indonesians.”

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